Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre
project update
Why are we doing this?
The category one heritage building had to be closed in November 2017 when a seismic assessment identified it was earthquake prone. This coincided with the completion of a detailed business case for a refurbishment to optimise the use of the venue, following community engagement and consultation.
Work on seismic strengthening and refurbishment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre is expected to start in the first half of 2019 following detailed design work currently underway. 
The strengthening and refurbishment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre aims to transform the facility from just a building to a facility capable of offering the range of services, shows and experiences expected from a performing arts centre. 
The design comprises a gently curved roof, inspired by the Arawa waka, anchored between the two restored 1940s heritage wings.
The redevelopment will include refurbishment of the building's interior and exterior, restoration of heritage features, external landscaping and lighting. 
Foyer - This light-filled space will incorporate stories of Te Arawa and Ngati Whakaue into the wooden ceiling designs. Sir Howard Morrison will be celebrated through an exhibition of his awards and memorabilia.
Concert Chamber - The Concert Chamber will become a flexible performing space able to seat from 100 to 300 people.
Civic Theatre - The Civic Theatre capacity will be increased to 1000 seats, with enhanced acoustics and air conditioning. The orchestra pit and stage apron will be extended.
Council has committed $4.5m in its 2018-28 Long-term Plan towards the seismic strengthening of the centre, with the balance of the $18m project to be sourced externally. Sir Owen Glenn has already pledged $3million, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust has committed $1.5million and New Zealand Community Trust has approved $750,000. Further commitments in principle, totalling $750,000, have been received from a number of other trusts and efforts to secure more external funding are ongoing.
The Shand Shelton concept design included a stage two option, to replace the curved Banquet Room with a built-for-purpose performance space, storage space, and truck dock. That will only happen if the estimated $4.8m needed can be sourced externally.​​
○  Project total - $18m
○  $7.5m external funding still needed
○  Rotorua Lakes Council $4.5m
○  Glenn Family Foundation $3.0m
○  RECT $1.5m
○  NZCT $750,000
○  Other committed funding $750,000
Was it necessary to close the building?
The detailed seismic assessment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre put the building in the earthquake prone category which makes it a high risk building should there be a seismic event. The safety of the public and staff is our priority. Regardless, we would not be able to work around the remedial work which is now required.
When will the Centre reopen? 
The Centre is scheduled to reopen in 2020.
How much will it cost to fix the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre?
The project is set to cost $18 million. Council has committed $4.5 million in its 2018-28 Long-Term Plan towards the seismic strengthening of the Centre, with the balance of the $18 million to be sourced externally.
How did this impact staff at the facility?
There were seven staff based at SHMPAC who have been redeployed during the closure.
What are the outcomes of this project?
○  Address opportunities to strengthen the cultural and performing arts offering by providing a venue that can showcase all forms of performance, create vibrancy and increase use of the centre.
○  Upgrade the building for earthquake stability.
○  Create a fit-for-purpose venue to encourage more users/promoters/presenters to offer more performing arts for Rotorua and visitors.
What are the benefits of this project?
○  Enriched creative experiences for the community
○  Increased use of the facility by theatre groups
○  Alternative performance space for shows
○  Provide affordable performance space for local or smaller shows
○  Offer a variety of entertainment options for locals and visitors
○  Create a positive identity reflecting Rotorua’s strong arts, performance and Māori culture.
○  Support the Vision 2030 strand – strong culture, easy lifestyle and diverse opportunities.
Should we be concerned about other Council buildings?
No. An audit of all major public council buildings was completed some time ago. Earthquake strengthening work has already been done on the Haupapa Street library and the Fenton St iSite, and the Rotorua Museum will remain shut until strengthening and restoration is complete.
These buildings were all identified some time ago as being an earthquake risk under legislation introduced following the Christchurch earthquakes. Buildings deemed to be a risk require further assessment to ascertain whether they are earthquake-prone and therefore require remedial work.
Construction methodology has changed and so has legislation in terms of required standards so these have impacted on the safety rating of many buildings around the country and a number of public Council-owned buildings have closed around New Zealand.
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